Shoulder Joint Replacement
A short explanation to my followers of why I have not been writing hubs for a month or so. After suffering pain in my right shoulder for many years, and having already had my left shoulder's ball replaced two years ago, my consultant decided to replace the right shoulder ball joint. I had been attending his clinic as an out patient while the extent of the damage to my shoulder was assessed.
On May 4th I went into the Orthopaedic Centre at the hospital. The efficiency of the staff could not be criticised in any way. They were all marvellous. After a few checks I walked into the anaesthetic department and lay on a bed. I was told to look to my left and that I would feel a small scraping sensation on my neck. It was quickly over and then a small syringe was emptied into my left hand.
The next thing I knew was that I was waking up in the ward with my right arm in a sling. I knew nothing about the operating theatre, the operation itself or the people who did such a great job on me. I stayed in the hospital overnight and dutifully took the painkiller tablets before going to sleep, but truthfully I didn't need them as I felt no pain. I was up after four hours as I don't ever sleep for long periods and I spent the rest of the night drinking tea with the duty nurses. The following morning after seeing a Physio who told me not to exert my arm and to keep the sling on for four weeks I was released and went home.
Two weeks after the operation I went back to the day clinic and they Xrayed me and showed me the result. The ball and the pin going down into my humerus bone is exactly like this one:
An excellent job
If nonoperative treatments fail, as mine did initially, injections with steroids were a temporary relief, then shoulder replacement surgery could be needed. The shoulder replacements are usually done to relieve pain. Mine has certainly done that.
There are several different types of shoulder replacements. The usual total shoulder replacement involves replacing the arthritic joint surfaces with a highly polished metal ball attached to a stem, and a plastic socket. These come in various sizes. If the bone is of good quality, your surgeon may choose to use a non-cemented or press-fit humeral component. If the bone is soft, the humeral component may be implanted with bone cement.
Another type of shoulder replacement is called reverse total shoulder replacement, where the ball is implanted where your socket was and the new socket inserted where your ball was. Reverse total shoulder replacement is used for people who have completely torn rotator cuffs and suffer the effects of severe athritis.
Reverse shoulder operation
A rehabilitation program is essential to the success of a shoulder replacement. It starts with gentle physical therapy. An arm sling is worn during the first several weeks after surgery. Patients are able to perform simple activities such as eating, dressing and grooming within 2 weeks after surgery, but in my case I found it difficult to raise my right arm to shave, clean my teeth etc, so I had to use my left, which is not easy for a right hander. Driving a car is not allowed for 6 weeks after surgery.
The do's and don'ts when you return home:
Don't use the arm to lever yourself up out of a chair or the bed.
Overuse of the arm could result in future limitations.
Do the exercises prescribed by your physiotherapist.
Do not engage in lifting anything heavy.
Avoid placing your arm in any extreme position, such as straight out to the side or behind your body for the first 6 weeks after surgery.
I know I will have an improved quality of life after the shoulder joint replacement, as there will be no more of the agonising pain I suffered from before the operation. There will be less pain, improved motion and strength, and better function.
I'm so glad I had it done, and to anyone who suffers from severe shoulder pain, I would recommend you get the advice of a consultant and if he says you need a replacement joint, go for it.